Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Government Problems and Library Prospects Discussed at Last Meeting!

In attendance: Andrew Gaiennie, William Hartman, Kathy Gregorio, Ron Heezem, Cynthia Kieth, Maurice Loridans, Loren Demerath
The group first discussed how the blog is supposed to be used as a forum since the email list has now been deleted (and moved to “”) in the interests of not cluttering people's inboxes. We had a lively discussion about funding bike-ped transportation and we had put it on the blog, Loren commented, and then Maurice made a separate thread, but would it work with the same success as email?
We thought becoming a “follower” of the blog would give us email updates, but Steph reports it will only fit 10 people. Andrew said google apps has a google reader, and it could function as a way of working around that limit. Mike Mayo is working on our web presence and may have solution for that by the time he's done.
501-c3 UPDATE
Loren updated the group that with the assistance of Accounting Professor Barbara Davis of the Centenary College Frost School of Business, they have completed the paper work and sent in the application to the IRS for non-profiting filing. However, they misread the filing fee amount and will need to send an additional $100.
Progress is being made on the pedestrian bridge. We now have the engineer's report on the bridge. What we need now is to measure accurately the width of the drainage ditch we'll be crossing; it needs to be less than 60 feet in order to used the bridge we plan on asking for from the Sheriff's Department (they're not using it and we think they might be willing to donate it). Andrew Gaiennie said he happens to be a surveyor and has the equipment to make the measurement. (Thank you Andrew!)
An issue is whether it would interfere with flood water. A safe standard already established would seem to be the Betty Virginia park bridge. Making it that high could be a standard to shoot for. The height of King's and Alexander presumably would also be safe standards. Thus, there could be ramps constructed that would go up to the bridge that would be at the height of those streets.
It was noted that the city's elected officials on projects such as this have always been helpful; ABS has done lots of outreach work with officials, holding events, collecting signatures, etc., and documenting support for various city improvements. The same helpfulness hasn't been experienced, however, from certain staffers. What seems to happen is that the elected officials have to defer to the subject matter expert on the city staff. It was speculated that the expert can make up standards on the spot, and set them at an unattainable level. Such a tactic would serve the staffer's purpose of discouraging a city improvement that would otherwise mean more work for them, more strain on their budget, etc. An example of this was recently being told that the dog park had to be an expensive wrought iron fence, when a chain link fence is used throughout that area and in dog parks throughout the country.
We've learned through back channels that the city council doesn't want to ask the attorney general for an opinion on the application of the law that requires bicycle and pedestrians to be accommodated at the Youree and Kings intersection because they're worried the city engineers will delay the work for at least two years if they do so. 

Steph has looked at the plan and said it calls for all the current landscaping to be taken out and as much new concrete put in as possible. It also appears the manhole covers would be right in the tires' way. Usually manhole covers are inbetween the lanes so that cars don't have to swerve to avoid them. It was noted that only a transportation engineer or transportation planner would know about that. Steph (the latter) asked why it happened and Jeff Everson passed on that question, and the engineers said they decide on the placements in the field. That means they don't use a plan, or a planner to decide their placement. There are other examples of unplanned construction that, therefore, does not use the standard best practices. For example, Shreveport doesn't use the universal paint patterns of vertical stripes for pedestrian crosswalks. Instead, they use horizontal lines that waste paint as they become worn out and as tires run over them. William pointed to another example of unplanned construction at the pedestrian crossing in front of the Barnwell Center where there is a crosswalk with no curb cut or entry onto the sidewalk.
(Editor's note: it's an open question as to whether these problems are due to not having enough planners on the city staff, the negligence of the planners that are on the staff, or to the negligence of others that should be using city planners for projects but bypass them. If such a bypass is to keep costs down, it would be shortsighted. Poorly designed infrastructure costs the city in the long run, and the cost of planning is minimal. The Youree & Kings intersection is a 10 million dollar project, and the cost of planning would be in the neighborhood of one quarter of one percent of that total, and likely could be had for even less.)
Ron Heezen, Executive Director of the Caddo Parrish Public Library Systemonas a guest on the radio show “Time For A Better Shreveport” on KSCL 91.3 at 5 p.m. that evening, and the group was happy to have him there at the meeting as well. He spoke about the library system and it's importance for the community and its future. He noted that Caddo Parrish has 21 branch libraries. When they were going through the applications for building them, they were told not go for Lead Certification. But Ron said he would like to make them Lead Certified, and, where possible, self-sustaining and geothermal. The rationale includes the fact that such design saves money for tax payers in the long run. In Lavista, Nebraska the total heating and colling bill is now less than half of what it was for the old building that was a fraction of the size of the current new building. He is also planning on doing this with grant money, not tax dollars. They're also renovating the old Western Electric building that became the Verizon call center building. In that renovation, too, they'll be trying to reduce the amount of tax dollars that goes for energy. Everything that now happens on the fourth floor of the main library will go to the new building; that will save money and time in loading. It should allow a more efficient and cost effective administration of the library system.
Steph asked what percentage of our millage goes towards libraries, and Ron answered it is 8.9% of our property taxes. Steph noted that is was striking that we've never had a private source of support for the libraries which means people can't donate to the library if they want to. The Friends of Shreve Memorial Library Group isn't a 501-c3. However, Ron has recently helped form the new Shreve Memorial Library Foundation Incorporated that will be a non-profit organization to which people can donate to support the libraries.
Ron also noted other changes, such “Overdrive,” the software that the library now uses to allow patrons to download electronic content; why pay for an ebook?
Ron said he thought ABS could be a partner in the process of applying for grants to fund green construction, and members of the group were enthusiastic about that possibility.
It was noted that another area for ABS supporting libraries is as bike-ped destinations. There could be something akin to “safe-routes-schools” for libraries that would work to establish bike-ped means of traveling to libraries. Loren noted that one of the nicest walks in the city is along the “duck pond” from Shreveport-Barksdale to the Broadmoor branch, but one has to do it on the grass; there is no sidewalk or trail, though there easily could be. William noted that at the Hamilton branch there's a nice sidewalk going along the forested area out to Baird Rd., but nowhere along the road itself to walk. Neither on that road nor Bert Koons is it really possible for pedestrians to walk comfortably. (Loren happened to be working there this morning and watched a pedestrian walk—unsafely, it seemed—along Baird Rd.; also saw a cute armadillo scampering around the forested area where the sidewalk is.)
The group was grateful for Ron's attendance and enthusiastic about partnering with the library system to improve the quality of life in our fair city!
Next week's meeting will again be at Centenary Square, 6 to 7 p.m., and anyone is welcome!
Please feel free to comment to this post on anything related to these minutes, or, for that matter, anything else related to improving our city!

Monday, July 25, 2011

ABetterShreveport Meeting Monday, July 18 , 2011 @ Centenary Square

  1. Dr. Gary Joiner discussion about the dog park partnership as it relates to the Civil War Bluff.
  2. Bike facility public/private funding discussion continuation from our list serve
  3. August membership ride planning at Stoner Park Trails
  4. Coates Bluff recap & proposal discussion
In Attendance:  Gary Joiner, Susan Keith, Cynthia Keith, David Young, William Hartman, Feico Kempff, Maurice Loridans, Steph Pedro

Gary Joiner:
The hill at Hamel Memorial Park is not a hill, it’s a berm in the middle of the floodplain. It was on the Bossier side of river, but the river jumped to the other side in 1860.  The berm was the site of the Chalk Level Plantation (part of Foster plantation) from west of Clyde Fant Parkway to the other side of the Louisiana Downs Racetrack--totaling 26,000 acres.  The property was then sold to Fulllove. Confederates came in and augmented the hill to be a fort in anticipation of troops coming up the Red River.  The troops never came.  Gary says the berm's name is now Fort Boggs.  Gary reviewed a diary of a soldier's journals that marched 3 hours from downtown (McNeil) to guard armory at Fort Boggs.  Gary has brought in 6 different military National Park Service experts which have identified that a bomb proof, ammo round depression, gun platforms, ramp for guns, and carriage park all exist at the site.  It holds 20 guns, but had 4 based on what we know.  If you look from above, it’s shaped like a bat wing.  There are 4 platforms. There were rifle pits, but the Corps of Engineers destroyed them in 1988 while 'directing the flow' of the Red River.  Boring samples were taken down to 16 feet undergroundThere is a buried elephant on the other berm at Hamel's Memorial Park.

Gary Joiner and ABS agreed to establish a partnership between SDPA and LSU Red River History Center, which he is the director of.    Marker should go near the parking lot.  The fence should go all the way to the river.  There is a steep bluff at the river.

Is there a way to leverage the fence into the historic marker?  We will need to go through the state to establish the significance of the site, and Gary can help us.  The marker cost is between $1200-1500.  Jameel Damlouji from the Northwest LA Archaeological Society, United Daughters of Confederacy, and the Sons of Confederacy will be able to fund the marker.  Gary has assisted with 6 markers already. Gary is also president of the Battlefield of Mansfield, another organization to assist in the historic marker funding and civil war-related events and activities at Fort Boggs in the future. 

Coates Bluff Recap
Steph Pedro is working on a proposal to Caddo Parish for surveying, design, and establishing a conservation easement for Coates Bluff.

1866 was when the railroad came through the VA/Coates Bluff area. 
February 1838 was when the cut off of the Red River happened.

Feico asked if the property near the Hopewell Cemetery is state-owned. Clay Carter of state land office will know if they own the stream bed. 

Bike Co-op Grant Progress
Maurice says that he wants to open the bike co-op the day that gas is $5.00/gallon.  Stacye Palmer, National Park Service, is writing the bike co-op grant now.  Garrett Johnson is assisting her.

August 13 Membership Ride Planning at Stoner Park Trails
Carolyn (event chair):  Bike Tri Event consists of meeting at Carolyn's Pie Table at the farmer's market to eat what we choose, and then bike ride north on the Red River Trail to Stoner Park, then ride on the Stoner trails if you have a wide-wheel bike. 

Where:  8:30 Farmer's Market Breakfast
            9am Market-To-Stoner Ride   
            9:30-11am Stoner Trails Riding

Maurice met someone who just moved from Florida who could not enter the farmer's market with their bikes.  Noma was notified and did not approve of this. 

Member News
Susan Keith: Diane Cappo will get the trials grant for us to use on Coates Bluff.

Stephanie Pedro:  Thanks to the Community Foundation, ABS partnered with ThinkFirst and received a $25,000 grant with the stipulation that the City of Shreveport, Caddo Parish, and DOTD all contribute their share of funds to the plan! This is a true public-private partnership! 

William Hartman:  Should we write a response to the Times Editorial?  It was decided to not write a response at this time.

Maurice:  To continue the Bike facility public/private funding discussion from our list serve...bikes once ruled the roads along with horses and buggies.  Then cars just widened them and used them as their own, becoming the dominant use of roads.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Discussion on Public vs. Private Funding

We've been meeting to move our online discussions from email to the blog. This will allow us to preserve them, perhaps for reference later, but also to reduce the email load for all of us.

So let's try that here. I've copied the text of the discussion below. If anyone wants to contribute, please make a comment. (I have!)

Dear “A Better Shreveport” Members,

Legislation to eliminate funding for federally funded biking and walking programs will be introduced in the House of Representatives shortly.

A link is provided in the attachment below that will direct a letter to our representatives. There is a prerecorded message but you are welcome to edit the message however you would like. You are encouraged to highlight how the programs apply or may apply directly to you in your community. The “Take Action!” link will direct you to another page.

I know many in the organization are strong proponents for enhanced connectivity and I thought I would pass along the message.

Best regards,

Will Loe, ASLA


Are we really considering even going forward on this? With the current economic situation, shouldn't we also being doing our part to control federal spending? I know that this is a minute portion of the enormous federal deficit and with upcoming budget cuts looking at medicaid and medicare; I feel we should examine ways to offset those cuts so deserving seniors can get the quality care they need.
Bobby R. Lister

Bobby Lister,

I'd argue it doesn't save money cut spending on things that eventually earn or save us more money. Think about how a good transportation system--including a well planned pedestrian and bicycle component--attracts people to living and investing in a city. And think about how it would save on health care costs down the road. For example, seniors deserve a safe environment to walk in; if they had it, they'd walk more and need less health care. (You should see the situation my 75 year old mother is in! I can't get her out of the house for a walk!)

- Loren Demerath

Mr. Lister,

I don’t disagree with your sentiment and agree that every federally funded program should be scrutinized.

Personally I believe the gesture is political and the amount allocated toward the Enhancements is a crumb of a crumb of a crumb. A great deal of effort went into getting that crumb however and in my opinion most of the projects that benefit from the provision create quality of life improvements that most would support and could not happen otherwise.

Obviously I am in favor of Transportation Enhancements but you are welcome to use the link to voice your opinion. You will want to erase the preprinted message and then you can type anything you like. Regardless it’s nice to have a say.

Best regards,

Will Loe, ASLA


This is the challenge of cutting government budgets. We all believe our passion should be funded. I agree with Bobby, but it will be painful.

Take Minnesota. First things to go are fishing licenses and beer. It's the government's way of making a point.

I believe in biking and walking programs. I don't know if the inefficiencies of federal funding are the best way to make them happen.

- David Young


Mr. Loe, I just have to wonder how many "crumbs" are out there across this country? I would rather see this funding go away than to keep this and cut the previously mentioned programs that our seniors, veterans and disabled citizens depend on for assistance. I don't mean to step on your toes, I realize this is near and dear to you. I can only reference what FDR had to face and the way the people pulled together and everybody sacrificed to get this country back on its feet. Sure wish we had that same spirit now! Just one man's opinion.....
Bobby R. Lister

Mr. Lister,

The FDR administration was responsible for the greatest parks and recreation building program this country has ever undertaken. Trail construction and park facilities across the country were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), employing thousands of out of work laborers. From 1933-1942 the CCC planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas.

The CCC performed 300 possible types of work projects within ten approved general classifications:

• Structural Improvements: bridges, fire lookout towers, service buildings;
• Transportation: truck trails, minor roads, foot trails and airport landing fields;
• Erosion Control: check dams, terracing and vegetable covering;
• Flood Control: irrigation, drainage, dams, ditching, channel work, riprapping;
• Forest Culture: planting trees and shrubs, timber stand improvement, seed collection, nursery work;
• Forest Protection: fire prevention, fire pre-suppression, fire fighting, insect and disease control;
• Landscape and Recreation: public camp and picnic ground development, lake and pond site clearing and development;
• Range: stock driveways, elimination of predatory animals;
• Wildlife: stream improvement, fish stocking, food and cover planting;
• Miscellaneous: emergency work, surveys, mosquito control

The CCC was the most popular of all programs instituted during the New Deal. We still benefit today from this work program. Ever been to Caddo Lake State Park?

Sir, I am not sure that all those whom you feel might be entitled a priority during this current fiscal crisis would necessarily agree with your sentiments. That spirit of cooperation and shared sacrifice does exist, though it seems everywhere but Washington, DC. Thank you for expressing your opinion. Have a good day.

William Hartman


You make good points and I agree on the need for those results. However, we've got to stop turning to the Feds for all of our funding needs. More and more of these beneficial projects need to be undertaken by local and/or private investments. If Shreveport was seen as a city that recognizes these issues and addresses them ourselves, we'd enhance our quality of living here even more.



Our City (public and nonprofits) is beginning to walk down the path of recognizing issues and working to address them. SRAC just got a grant that will include employing local artists to create artsy bike racks, the DDA and ABS helped Sportran decide on bike rack locations for downtown, and the DDA has initiated a public/private committee to oversee the Edwards Streetscape project.

But the funding of bike paths requires a lot more funds than a $2500 bike rack. To put it into perspective, the Preston Extension trail cost was $180,000. Local funds DO match these investments from 5% to 50%, depending on the program.

Would you suggest that we raise the money privately to fund the paths? Perhaps a Bike Trust Fund?



Since you ask, yes. My personal perspective is that communities are healthiest (in all aspects) if they are promoted and supported from w/in. Having involvement by the people who benefit from the said project encourages a sense of ownership, pride, accomplishment and more. Which are additional social "good" not achieved by receiving funding from a detached uninvolved entity. I believe it would benefit our community more if the grants you speak of came from local entities and not from a federal government department. If ABS was able to solicit and encourage private entities to contribute these funds (matching or otherwise) we'd have even greater civic-pride and improved quality of life than we are already pursuing.


Point well-made, Dan!


Bobby, Dan, et al.,

First, what a great exchange!

I've got some semi-philosophical questions: what's the correct use of public vs. private wealth? When should something be publically vs. privately funded? Does it depend on one's philosophy, the needs of the moment, or something else? I'm generally pro-public funding; for example, I'm glad my taxes went to building a skate-board park, even though I don't skate board.

Another question: is government necessarily "inefficient," as Dan implies? Might not private funding properly be seen as just as inefficient, considering the profit that's taken? And can't there be good, efficient, accountable government? I'll Dan could provide examples from his air force career of both good and bad government administration, but that doesn't mean the bad has to be there, does it?

But my biggest question is about where we get the money. Isn't it up to our government officials to raise that money from us by making a good argument for it? And that's their job, not mine. That's how we get more "crumbs".

I agree with Bobby, though, that it seems like people were willing to sacrifice more in the FDR era. Too bad. We accomplish a lot if we donate a few crumbs for public goods. I would love to pay an increase in taxes, for example, that went to build systems of bike paths that could be used for transportation.

- Loren

Wow, those are some heady questions. I'll respond briefly since most of the questions were directed towards me.

1. Public wealth is private wealth redirected, whose use should be constrained to established essential functions of government operations independent of personal philosophy or moment. 2. Anything outside of the essential operations should be privately funded. 3. Yes, I'm generally pro-private funding for the reasons expressed earlier in the thread. 4. Private funding, by its nature, is generally more efficient because the profits that are being donated for public use were made by a private business taking a great risk and therefore are less apt to be spent frivolously. 5. The USAF has many times been the example of good "administration" (I think you meant efficient operation) and sometimes not. But it is always accountable to the direction of its civilian leadership. 6. Yes, money is the question (many times) and I believe ABS is a large part of the solution. Let's take "bike paths" as a generic topic. I believe the funds should first be solicited from the ones who'll most benefit from the solution. An incomplete list would include, bike dealers, sporting equipment retailers, bike clubs, athletic nutrition retailers, national-scale athletic goods & services manufacturers, heath-care providers, fitness promoters, etc. These are the entities that ABS should be reaching out to for funding. This is an area where ABS could really make its mark on the city and champion the promotion of private-funding for public good. 7. As expressed, it is not government officials' job to make arguments to raise and spend more of our money. It is to execute the required government functions in the most efficient manner possible - preferably on less (crumbs) tax revenue. 8. I believe the recently passed bond will give you an opportunity to contribute more of your private wealth for those worthy causes as well as provide opportunities for private investment in complimentary endeavors.

I hope I've provided some solutions beneficial to the discussion.

Dan, your list in #6 shows the bias we have had in bike facilities in Shreveport. All recreation and fitness. That's why the trails didn't connect useful destinations. ABS wants bike ped facilities for transportation. The arguments you list would be great if you also believed in private funding for auto centric facilities. Do you?


And I'm posting my response as a comment to this post. For a while at least, we'll try using the blog for these discussions.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Better Shreveport focused on the Coates Bluff map

Hydrologist and LSUS faculty member Gary Hanson, director of Red River Watershed Management Institute (RRWMI) joined the meeting on Coates Bluff nature Trail held recently at Montessori School for Shreveport.

July 12, 2011

In attendance:  Garrett Johnson, Jennette Ginsberg, Robert Trudeau, Gary Hanson, Cynthia Keith, Sid Crump, Dan Goodman, Susan Keith, William Hartman, Will Loe, Jon Soul, Nadine Charity

We began with introductions and members who had tasks reported on their progress.
Robert has contacted Larry Raymond to further explore partnerships w/ land trust entities.  The birding group is more interested in birding than administering the Audubon Society.

Sid asked the group about a trail along the river which is falling in and it was noted by a geologist that was probably the reason for the kids drowning last summer because Petrohawk was pumping sand and it has become a hazard along the river--literally quick sand.

Cynthia will bring the dog park committee to Coates Bluff, and introduce with dogs, and help install poop stands. 

Robert called The Times and they will run a correction about the four-year old photo on the front page introducing the Dog Park, and they have made the correction on their website.  Robert asked about the situation on the wrought iron fence.  Oliver Jenkins will talk to Shelly Ragle about existing chain length fences on the riverfront, including the city-owned chain length fence at Stoner Boat Launch.

Sid has hiked the trail since he was 9 years old.  Has a friend with the Caddo Commission that is interested in seeing a proposal for our protection plan, including a conceptual bike path.

Dan supports the safety and enhancement of the existing and future bike path along Clyde Fant Pkwy.  He lives on Preston, and hates the zoning changes that have led to the degradation of the neighborhood , and is interested in keeping property values.

Susan has been studying Coates Bluff since 1989, and placed a historical marker at Olive & Youree in 1987.  She works at the Red River History Center downtown.  Dianne Kappos says there are grants that we can tap into since Coates Bluff is located in Bossier Parish.

Feico reported the Audubon Society has funds that are available, but we need a chapter, and would take 6 months to get it together.  We would need 40 members, and 25 individual members.  We can call the Audubon Society any name that we want.  Tyler, TX is the closest society to Shreveport.

Nadine got in touch with art teachers and came up with ideas for painting sewer culverts with educational themes.
Feico noted the artists could also help with signage.  The other item would be a tree show in the fall.

Jon reported a Stoner Hill clean up about one month ago that he visited and took a group through Hopewell Cemetary, and spoke with Jeff Everson about some tax dollars coming to town for historical purposes, and sent him the edmodo link, and Jeff was interested in an inventory of headstones.  There is an access trail, and we need to put up a gate, and need a stairstep that could be accomplished by September.  He needs 10 people for a Saturday clean up--Sid will help.  Robert can get Magnet students in September as the students need to ‘buy in’.  A manhole cover is busted on the trail and there are noticeable signs of discharge.  Jon took a pic and sent to Shreveport Streets & Drainage and asked if any heavy machinery would be involved, but has not heard back from them.   Jon spoke with Friends of Red River Wildlife and asked if Coates Bluff can be encompassed, but it can’t.  But Red River Wildlife can do specific invitations.  Jon spoke with Mary Anne Bowie about watershed protection as being a viable tool for education for Coates Bluff.  This is a great model for teaching watershed studies.  Jon looked at City DOS, and talked about a stormwater quality issue.  A grate WOULD NOT be blocking the water, it would be blocking the trash flow.  There are 4 stations that could be installed.  Susan said check with the National Geographic as she did a storm drain in University Terrace, and they provided stenciling paint.  There is a lot of light trash.  Susan asked if there were federal laws that are eroding the cemetery graves that protect it?  Archeaologic.  There are military family located in the park. 

William asked what the School Board intention is and they said tell them what you want and they will decide. 

Red River Watershed Management Institute (RRWMI)
The Red River Management CEA is twenty years old.  Gary Hanson plans to extend it as a park.  Gary asked  if there is a plan for Veterans Park.  It has incredible topography and geological, boulders could be part of the outreach, and Louisiana Geological Survey (LGS) is doing a lot of boulders and moved a 22,000 pound sandstone/ironstone boulder from the I-49 corridor to the RRWMI.  These are great exposures and need some signage with LGS to get involved.   Steph asked if that model was applicable to Coates Bluff.  Gary responded that he modeled the RRWMI after the Savannah, GA hydrology model of research. Gary wanted the oxbow lake to be a research park and brought the idea to Murray Lloyd.  Murray did the politics, and Gary did the science.  The Committee went to the national level including the National Wetlands Center, Corps of Engineers, Jim Holt, Port Authority, and LSU faculty.  Lots of meetings took place, and Mayor Hightower approved the agreement between him and the Chancellor because the Mayor thought it would cut costs to the City, but it came with a full spectrum of disciplines and a built park was a way to pull together ideas and purchase 30 acres (Board of Regents), 10 on soccer field, 20 on other side of levee.  The LSU President was involved, and LSUS applied for grants with EPA, Rep. McCrery for infrastructure, water wells, and infrared mapping.  On the Educational Committee, three teachers came in and required others to be instructors.  The building was funded by a McCrery earmark, and gas companies currently want to donate funds to study better methods of water management.  The Committee consisted of 40 people, then a steering committee was formed to carry out the plan.  It consisted of 2 city appointmees (mayor and Shelly, Wes Wyche), 2 university appointees, and one rotating public member appointee, and the LSU Chancellor.  Bill Bebe is the public member, The process began in 1998 the RRWMI formed in 2000.
Water Resources Committee was born out of RRWMI, a committee with oil/gas operators. The Water Energy Working Group is another initiative which has national attention because it has been a leader of being proactive and getting gas operators off ground water. 70% of water used for fracing is now surface water. Before the Water Energy Working Group formed, 100% ground water was used for fracing.  Other successes of the RRWMI include an Adaptive Management Water Act passed, and Gary got to write the application.  This act deals with water ownership.  The City owns all flow rights now.  

Right To Play, Inc: Dr Karen Gordon created the Leaps and Bounds playground in AC Steere Park, Shreveport

"Right to Play, Inc was established when it was determined that children with disabilities in the Shreveport, Louisiana area were denied an aspect of life that other children and their parents take for granted: access to a playground that would provide rigorous and challenging fun for children of all abilities." That's from the history of the non-profit group at

"RTP was founded in 1999 by Karen Gordon, a Shreveport veterinarian, who was moved by a magazine story about a barrier-free playground project in Connecticut. She identified six other community members willing to devote volunteer energy to ensure all children in the Shreveport - Bossier City community would have equal access to play."

The city of Shreveport happily accepted the donation of the park to AC Steere park.

Upkeep of the Leaps and Bounds facility remains an ongoing concern.

During the recent interview on KSCL Dr Gordon said that being independent of the city afforded the organization the ability to avoid the lowest bid process and find the best-possible designers and manufacturers.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Inspired by the Coates Bluff Trail, Libby Patterson, caterer, offers tohelp ABS with event planning and food prep

"Erik, Ava and I again enjoyed the Coates Bluff Nature Loop a couple of weekends ago (actually it was Erik's first time and he loved it!). We met a gentleman who was fishing and had great things to say about the trail and also told us about some trails by the river," writes food maven Libby Patterson.

"I wanted to express that Erik and I want to support that project and extension, and all that A Better Shreveport is doing. We're not able to come to meetings yet (opposite schedules and Ava), but we can help with maintenance/presence and trail usage...
In the meantime, I also wanted to offer help in something I do have a little experience in: food and event planning. I'm not sure who to speak to about this, but please volunteer my services for the next time you have a gathering you need help with...I've done it pro bono for minicine for dogs or hummus, I'm there :)"

ABS must be on a righteous path, seems to me, to win such an offer of support.

Libby's blog is called

- Robert Trudeau

Complete Streets: It’s About More Than Bike Lanes

Complete Streets: It’s About More Than Bike Lanes

Shreveport, we have the opportunity to soon see Kings/Youree -- Youree/E. Washington -- Shreveport-Barksdale/E. Kings as depicted in this fabulous video.

Lets not design to make it more unsafe to bicycles and pedestrians than it already is. If we created a safe environment, then we would all use it!